streetwear toad: swatch picture and review

this is my favorite version of sw toad... beautiful olive green shimmer:

this polish is fairly thin and watery and tends toward bald spots, so i did four coats to get this evenly opaque. worth it, though! thanks to my sweet friend amy for hooking me up with this pretty!


american apparel summer 2010 swatches part 1: butter, malibu green

hi everyone! sorry for my absence the past couple of days... we've hardly had any sun around here, which makes photographing polishes no fun! this morning, however, we had some nice weather, so i thought it would be a great time to swatch a couple of the latest offerings from american apparel.

as i've posted before, being a die-hard creme lover i'm a big fan of smerican apparel's range of polishes, so i was thrilled to hear that this summer, they were expanding their line to include five new colors: butter, california trooper, l'esprit, malibu green, and summer peach.

i had mixed feelings about butter - i loved the color, a gorgeous warm soft yellow, but i did have issues with the application:

yellows are notoriously difficult to apply, and butter wasn't particularly awful in that respect; it was both thick and runny, and somewhat streaky as well, but most people could probably get it to work in three thick coats (since i didn't figure this out through midway through my application, i used four regular coats for the swatch above). however, the american apparel brush is designed in such a way that the stem retains a lot of polish even if you wipe off your brush well, causing drips and mess if you aren't careful. thus, in order to have a controlled, neat manicure, you have to wipe off the brush and stem so thoroughly that you simply don't have enough polish left to do properly thick coats. if you're able to figure out how to apply butter in a way that works for you, though, the color is very pretty.

malibu green on the other hand, had an awesome formula, and i really liked the color as well:

(please note that the polish is brighter and more saturated irl.) this had the thin, super-pigmented formula that i love and think of as being typical of american apparel's polish! with all my love of crazy polish i've never really ventured into bright blues and greens, so i was surprised by how much i loved this shade... i actually wound up wearing it for three days! the formula of this polish was excellent - smooth and very easy to work with - and it was opaque in two thin coats. malibu green makes a great pop of color against the blacks and neutrals i insist on wearing even throughout the summer, and i'm looking forward to breaking it out again.

i should have the rest of the american apparel summer colors (california trooper, l'esprit, and summer peach) swatched and posted for you on monday... i'll update this post with a link once that's done. happy weekend!

disclosure: the products in this post were sent to me by american apparel for consideration


streetwear midnight and streetwear fx flash (blue version): swatch pictures and review

for today installment of streetwear saturdays, i started with three coats of sw midnight, a glowy dark blue shimmer:

i'm not really a fan of blue shimmers (well, any shimmers, but blue shimmers in particular), so i decided to top this mani with a little glitter to make it more my style. here's sw midnight with one coat of sw fx flash (the blue version) on top:

full disclosure: i got this idea from a gorgeous mani done by another np lover... afraid i can't take credit for it! while i like the blue version of fx flash well enough, it's the green/chameleon version that i really love. for pics of that polish, please check out my posts here and here.


swatch: china glaze electric lilac

i'm still wearing opi girls just want to play from yesterday, so here's a polish i swatched recently - chg electric lilac:

electric lilac is quite sheer and i didn't feel like building it up to opacity, so for this picture i put two coats over nails inc. basil street (a beige-nude creme). the polish was pretty goopy, so i was glad i made the decision to not struggle through four coats of it.

happy friday! hope you all have a nice weekend. :)


swatch: opi girls just want to play

i love this! from the 2008 holiday in toyland collection:

girls just want to play is brighter and more pink-toned irl and has a totally fabulous formula (two coats seen above). i can see myself wearing this again and again!


swatch: nails inc. brook street

i've been trying to photograph my notd, opi ogre-the-top blue, for the past two days now with no luck - it's been so overcast here that i don't have enough light to get a color-accurate pic. so here's an notd from last week instead, nails inc. brook street:

this is a very pretty pink-toned coral... i love it! it reminds me a bit of rbl coral, but the two polishes certainly aren't identical. i paired brook street with a fluorescent yellow dress, brown chunky platform sandals, and a bright red pedi. :) three coats.


swatch: nails inc. hollywood

fabulous candy pink!

unfortunately, the application of this shade wasn't quite so fabulous - it was somewhat streaky and patchy, requiring me to apply it thickly to get it even in three coats. these application issues surprised me, as nails inc. polishes tend to have a consistently good formula. i love the color, though, so i can definitely see myself reaching for hollywood again... just not when i'm in a rush or need an easy mani!


comparison swatch: opi mrs. o'leary's bbq and opi vampire state building

opi mrs. o'leary's bbq is widely reputed to be a dupe for the htf opi vampire state building. in my opinion, however (and unfortunately for those of you seeking a more easily accessible alternative to vampire state building), the two polishes aren't actually identical.

in the following photos, i have vampire state building on my index (leftmost) and ring fingers and mrs. o'leary's bbq on my middle and pinky (rightmost) fingers. i did three coats of each polish, although mrs. o'leary's bbq (owner of one of my favorite polish abbreviations ever, "molbbq") only needs two if you let it dry a bit longer than i did.

vampire state building and mrs. o'leary's bbq have completely different undertones, and the difference between the polishes is visible in regular natural light. vampire state building's undertones are brown, while those of mrs. o'leary's bbq are purple. the two shades are closer on the nail than in the bottle, though.

vampire state building and opi a man in every port-ugal look closer in the bottle than vampire state building and mrs. o'leary's bbq do (leaving aside a man in every port-ugal's subtle shimmer); i'll comp them at some point.

here's a lighter (albeit slightly washed out) pic to better show the different tones of the two polishes:

btw, for those of you who are interested, i posted a full mani with molbbq here.

swatch: opi miami beet

when changing my polish yesterday afternoon, i had my roommate pick my mani. she suggested a "bright, red-toned purple," and the closest thing i had in my untrieds was opi miami beet!

here it is in the sun:

and since this polish darkens considerably in dimmer lighting, here it is in regular natural light (it's darker still indoors):

when i was placing the etailer order in which i got miami beet, i idly wondered to myself how i'd managed to do without this shade for so long, considering the number of people who rave about it. once the polish had arrived and i had unpacked it, though, i remembered why i'd avoided picking it up in the past - it's reputed to be a dupe for zoya moxie, which i already own. the two polishes do look slightly different in the bottles, so i'll need to do a comp at some point to figure out their precise similarities and differences.

by the way, with regard to formula miami beet is like the vast majority of the opi cremes i own - pigmented, smooth, and opaque and two coats.


swatch: opi dazzled by gold

dazzled by gold was an ulta exclusive during last year's holiday season. i was luckily able to score this polish through a swap, as there's no ulta here. this is my very first real gold polish (i.e. one that isn't a glitter topcoat)!

i'm a big fan of chunky, over-the-top rings and bracelets, but yesterday i thought i'd wear the bling on my nails for a change! i wasn't a huge fan of this polish at first, but it grew on me, and by the end of the evening i couldn't stop admiring my nails. btw, i think this would look totally striking on someone with a darker skin tone!

dazzled by gold does go on quite sheer at first, but as you build up the layers the big shimmer particles come together to create an awesome foily finish. this polish was pretty much opaque in three coats, but i did four just to make sure any bald spots were fully covered.

p.s. happy mother's day to all you moms out there, especially mine! ♥


streetwear moody: swatch picture and review

i was lucky enough to find this vhtf polish in a dusty just last week!

this is often referred to as the "creme" version of moody (sometimes spelled "mmoody"), but this polish isn't actually a pure creme. instead, it features a subtle but still visible shimmer. this shimmer may be a bit difficult to detect in this picture, however, because this polish reacted badly to the seche vite topcoat i applied over it, resulting in lots of small bubbles and other texture issues. apologies! btw, this swatch is of three coats of moody.

the other (and much more common) version of moody that i own isn't opaque, isn't creme-like, and isn't turquoise/teal; instead, it's a very sheer blue shimmer. at first i thought i'd never wear it, but after seeing emalc's pic of this sheer version of moody layered over black, i'm starting to think i should at least give that layered look a chance.


swatch: nails inc. upper street

a very pretty jelly-ish aqua shade:

when i first started to apply upper street, i was concerned that it would need several coats for opacity (and i was feeling lazy that day); luckily, it became even with the addition of a second coat. a comp with chg flyin' high and chg shower together is in the works!


swatch: nails inc. belgrave place

nails inc. belgrave place (not to be confused with nails inc. belgrave square, a shimmery pink) is amazing! it's a beautiful, vivid, super-glossy blurple jelly:

this polish totally, totally rules. depending on the lighting conditions, it ranges from a purple with strong blue undertones to a deep, rich blue to a shiny, gorgeous vampy. (my pic might be a bit too blue in some browsers; sorry about that!) a particularly great thing about belgrave place is that while it's a jelly, it doesn't come along with the annoying side effect of most jellies: vnl (visible nail line). instead, it was opaque in three coats.


swatch: opi paint my moji-toes red

i got this on sale for $1.99 at ricky's... hurray!

two coats. this polish was an absolute dream to apply - it glided on soooo smoothly. the color of this photo unfortunately varies a bit from browser to browser, so if it looks salmon or quite muted to you please know that that isn't an accurate representation. irl, paint my moji-toes red is a pink-red that's quite vibrant.


swatch: nails inc. draycott pl.

we had such summery weather here in new york this past weekend that i decided it was time to break out this fabulously juicy orange!

draycott pl. is my new favorite orange - it's so vivid and so pigmented. i wore it with this dress to wander around the city on a hot saturday afternoon, eating raspberry sorbet and idling in union square park... totally freaking awesome. two coats.
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